Online extracurricular activities
Each student has their own interests they enjoy, from hobbies to community service. These are all extracurricular activities that the students choose to do along with their school obligations. This way, children do the things they are interested in, advance their social interaction, all the while growing into responsible and successful persons.
Due to the numerous benefits this entails, the US school system particularly appreciates this sort of invested effort, as well as its results. Moreover, some states even prescribe the number of activity hours that the students need to do in order to finish school.
Information technology provides new extracurriculars
The technological advancement has opened up a new level of personal advancement, through online extracurricular activities. This way, students can do a number of things that might be impossible through standard activities. In this manner, a much wider circle of students can acquire additional education and do the things they like.
College admission officers highly value the achievements of high school students from this realm. Notable results serve as an excellent recommendation that can open the door to the most popular universities, and even contribute a lot towards a scholarship. These are all excellent motives for the children to spend a part of their time when they are not at school on interests such as:
- community service – making a contribution to the community through volunteering;
- academic activities – advancing their knowledge and acquiring new skills;
- part-time jobs – jobs that can be performed online;
- arts – learning about the arts and mastering skills such as painting and playing an instrument;
- esports – competitive online gaming.
Although constructive activities outside of school are excellent for the child, sometimes there are objective obstacles such as: being physically unable to attend an activity in person, a limited range of activities where the student lives, financial considerations, etc. This is where the possibilities opened by online extracurricular activities can be very helpful.
The advantages of online extracurricular activities
Online approach opens up a great number of possibilities for specific activities that would otherwise be inaccessible (e.g., language lessons for foreigners). Even the activities that can be performed “live” are sometimes more efficient when they are performed from home. Some students might be shy and therefore find it easier to express themselves through virtual activities.
Of course, the essence of online extracurricular activities is not to serve as an exclusive alternative to traditional extracurricular activities – the two can be perfectly complementary, for instance, in the case of creating a school newspaper. This task requires in-person teamwork at the editorial office, as well as contributions from external collaborators who create content by writing at home or publish news at the school’s website.
Students often want to show their full potential through choosing several activities. Multiple activities online are easier to organize, since several things can be taken care of practically simultaneously from a single computer, as is the case with managing several social media accounts (community management). This is the exact kind of problem solving skills especially appreciated by the best colleges, who are always in search of talented students.
Great online activities for students
The online realm provides a great number of options regarding education, cooperation on projects, as well as charity campaigns. Although many of them are organized by the schools who are eager to provide adequate outlets for their students’ interests, there are also activities that can be performed independently.
Online volunteering and community service
Online extracurricular activities oriented towards charity and community service are exceptionally valued. The advantage of this approach to charity and volunteering is the possibility of making a positive impact on people’s lives no matter where they are. Online volunteering additionally grew in popularity in the times of COVID-19 pandemic, with many people needing support, primarily psychological. The Internet makes it easier to help someone no matter how far away they are:
- Supporting the elderly – communication with lonely elderly people and assisting them with their daily chores (socializing, helping them develop digital literacy, ordering groceries online, making medical appointments online, etc.);
- Learning assistance – children with learning disabilities require more attention and assistance with mastering the curriculum, and they often have no one to work with after school;
- Assisting humanitarian organizations – many humanitarian organizations require assistance with event organization, documentation, PR, etc. All these things can be done from home, and they make a significant difference.
Through online volunteering, students donate their knowledge, virtual time and communication skills. This way, students do community service and can accomplish a lot towards providing help to persons who need it.
Virtual academic competitions
Virtual academic competitions are very popular online extracurricular activities, because they let students test their knowledge with their peers from all over the world. These competitions are very similar to their “offline” counterparts that test the knowledge gained at school. Preparing for competitions, students often have opportunities to meet top experts that would be difficult to approach in case of a traditional competition.
In addition to encouraging a healthy competitive spirit and motivating the children to learn, virtual academic competitions serve as excellent preparation for modern formal education. Many schools utilize distance learning, and competitions like these help children face all challenges of modern education.
Online tutoring services
Students often need additional assistance with learning. Although they would like to help, the parents are not always able to solve the problem. In this case, assistance can be found on the Internet, in the form of an online tutor. These mentors are usually teachers specialized in a certain area, but they can also be students.
This is also a convenient way to conduct individual lessons, in order for the teacher to fully focus on the individual student’s needs. Although an online tutor is often needed to help overcome learning difficulties, in certain cases, they also work with talented children preparing for competitions or college.
The Internet provides a wide variety of options when it comes to online extracurricular activities. Practically any hobby, sport or area can be studied this way. In this way, many children have learned to play an instrument or play chess – one can even learn martial arts in this way!
Online courses are an excellent opportunity to acquire new skills or master the existing ones, making the enrollment into the desired college easier. Subjects/areas that young people can attend online include:
1. Visual arts – Young people interested in painting and design can acquire invaluable knowledge that will help them fully develop their talent. Modern technologies facilitate this process in a number of ways, as drawing is usually performed with an electronic pen and advanced software.
2. Music – Mastering an instrument and learning the fundamentals of composition is much easier with online tutors and modern software at hand. Bonus – some courses provide learning with top musicians and university professors.
3. Writing – This is one of the most popular skills, as it can be a wonderful hobby, but it can also point the child towards creative professions such as screenwriter, journalist, writer, blogger, etc. It is a modern skill in great demand on the Internet, which can lead to part-time job opportunities while the student is still in school, and can serve as a prelude to a successful and creative career.
4. Public speaking – One of the crucial skills in college and, later, at work is leadership. A person who would like to lead a team should strive to polish their public speaking skills. In addition to dedicated courses, the Internet offers student clubs where students practice debating, speak on various topics and develop the art of well-argued discussion.
5. IT skills – Children are introduced to IT fundamentals at a very young age, so it is natural to build upon this knowledge if the student expresses an interest in it. Learning about programming languages, software, hardware and other IT concepts strengthens the basis for further advancement and studying at a prestigious college.
Online extracurricular activities contribute to the development of young bodies and minds, and constitute a considerable advantage when it comes to college applications. When students’ applications are considered in the college admissions process, extracurricular activities are never overlooked. This item provides an insight into the student’s interests and can even land them a scholarship.
However, let us not forget that the main role of extracurricular activities encompasses learning, education and developing independence, compassion and self-confidence. All these skills are necessary not only for a successful education, but for a successful life itself.